[Coral-List] Abstracts for ICRS2020: Assisted Evolution

Sarah Frias-Torres sfrias_torres at hotmail.com
Tue Jul 2 17:02:56 UTC 2019

We invite you to submit abstracts for:

Session 1: Can coral climate resilience be enhanced via assisted evolution?

Under theme 13: Interventions and restoration


We welcome abstract submissions until September 1, 2019.

Session Description:

Coral reefs are home to about a quarter of all marine species, and their economic value far exceeds that of any other ecosystem in the world, including estuaries, tropical rain forests and wetlands. Alarmingly, coral reefs are in rapid decline due to a multitude of anthropogenic activities causing mechanical damage, deteriorating water quality, and ocean acidification and warming. Climate models based on unmitigated greenhouse gas emissions predict heat-induced mass bleaching will occur on most coral reefs every summer within this century, and even under the best-case CO2 emission scenarios oceans will continue to warm and corals will decline further. Corals are capable of adaptation and acclimatisation and resilient reefs may recover unaided, however, natural rates of adaptation and recovery may not be sufficient to keep up with the current rate of global change. To increase the likelihood of coral reef persistence within this century, human interventions that increase coral climate resilience are thus urgently required; not as replacements for conventional management and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, but as additional interventions integrated with these actions. This half-day session will present developments and findings in the emerging field of assisted evolution (AE). AE includes a variety of bioengineering methods targeted at the coral host animal or any of its associated microbial symbionts, such as assisted gene flow, selective breeding, directed evolution of microbial symbionts, and probiotics. Genetic engineering and synthetic biology approaches are now also beginning to be considered. The half-day session of talks will be followed by a lunch-time panel Q&A discussion. The session will be dedicated to the late Ruth Gates, who was one of the pioneers of AE in corals.

Abstract submissions:

The Session Organizers

Chair: Madeleine van Oppen, The University of Melbourne (Parkville, Australia)


Sarah Frias-Torres, Vulcan Inc. (Seattle, WA, USA)

Linda Blackall,  The University of Melbourne (Parkville, Australia)

Manuel Aranda, KAUST (Thuwal, Saudi Arabia)

James Guest, Newcastle University (Newcastle, UK)


Sarah Frias-Torres, Ph.D.
Twitter: @GrouperDoc
Science Blog: https://grouperluna.com/
Art Blog: https://oceanbestiary.com/

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